Contact: Gurdip Paddan
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2021 (previously circulated).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2021 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman, following the amendment having been agreed by the Panel:
Minute 111: Insertion of ‘This will be taken back to Officers for further investigation’.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS
To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
Councillors S. Boulton and P. Zukowskyj declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the agenda as appropriate by virtue of being Members of Hertfordshire County Council.
Up to thirty minutes will be made available for questions from members of the public on issues relating to the work of the Committee and to receive any petitions.
The following question was received from Jackie Warren and the Chairman responded:
I work as a Practice Nurse at Lister House Surgery and together with my colleagues have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to provide essential services. In February 2020 we were asked to pay an annual charge of £50 to park in one of the Council owned car parks and now with the opening of the Common car park this has now risen to £200 per year which for many people working in Hatfield, on the minimum wage, will find it difficult to find. I do not expect the parking to be free but an increase of 300% is unfair and misjudged, especially in these difficult economic times.
Will the Council consider not applying these increased charges as it penalises those that can least afford it, like those of us that work within the NHS.
We fully appreciate the efforts of all our NHS staff. In the face of the Global Pandemic, the Government has introduced a coronavirus Covid-19 Parking Pass for NHS front line staff, health and social care workers and NHS volunteers. These passes are available through employers. We will continue to support this in line with Government guidance. Therefore, the price increase will not impact NHS parking pass holders.
for car park season tickets in Hatfield were agreed by Full Council
on the 1st February 2021 as part of the wider budget setting
There has been no increase in the season ticket prices in this location since their introduction in 2013. This cost is subsidised by the Council and provides local workers and Town entre residents a cost- effective way of parking when compared to paying the daily rate in the car park.
For example, the daily rate of parking is set at £6.50 – whereas a Season Ticket equates to approximately 70p per day to park in the Town centre.
It is also cheaper than season tickets offered by other local authorities. For comparison, the lowest season ticket for a town centre car park found in nearby counties was in Biggleswade at £225 per year.
Report of the Chief Executive setting out proposed parking restrictions for the new multi-storey car park, Kennelwood Lane car park and Dog Kennel Lane car park; including the outcome of the informal and statutory consultation.
The Panel considered the report of the Chief Executive on the introduction of parking restriction, in Town Centre car parks, Hatfield. The report noted that the new multi-story car park (MSCP) is part of the Hatfield Renewal Partnership proposals - a partnership of key local authorities, landowners and educational institutions who came together to develop a shared vision and plan for the Town's long-term regeneration. The build costs of the multi-storey were part funded by a £4.8m contribution from the Local Enterprise Partnership, recognising the part it will play in wider regeneration. These wider plans would boost the local economy, helping the Council to attract a better mix of new shops and businesses by making the Town centre a busier, more vibrant place to spend time.
Once opened, the MSCP will be managed by Parking Services, in line with other car parks across the Borough. This report set out the proposed parking restrictions for the new MSCP, Kennelwood Lane and Dog Kennel Lane Car Parks, including the outcome of the informal and statutory consultation.
Hatfield Town Centre is currently undergoing a wide regeneration programme. As part of the introduction of restrictions in the MSCP, to make parking easier to promote and ensure that there is a consistent approach, charges to restrictions are proposed to support parking provision for businesses, residents and visitors to the Town. Businesses have requested a more flexible long stay options.
As part of the consultation, notices had been placed around the Town and letter sent out to residents and traders, which was backed up by an email. The Parking Team carried out a consultation with the agreement of the Hatfield Town Centre Regeneration Board. The survey carried out with local businesses was to gauge their views on their perceived parking challenges in the Town Centre. Ward Councillors and the Police had been consulted and no objections had been received from them. 109 business contacts were contacted via email, and 57 separate business responses were received. This survey identified that 63% of responses said employees have a problem finding a parking space. 85% said their customers rely upon car parks. 17.5% said customers needed to park for more than 3 hours. When asked if there should be a minimum free period of parking 12% said 4 hours or more, with the rest saying 3 hours or less or no free period. With 95% stating they would want to see free parking in the evenings and on Sundays.
In terms of the objections received, there were 28 objections pertaining to the proposals throughout Hatfield Car Parks (Appendix A), of which 18 related solely to the price of the season tickets. The other objections also highlighted season ticket prices along with other concerns. There were 11 objections from two estate agent businesses located within Market Place.
The following points were raised and discussed:
· A comment was made by a Member that this was the first time he had seen the objections, as in the past they have only been ... view the full minutes text for item 115.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) regarding Government consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as well as on proposals for a National Model Design Code and a Guidance Note for Design Codes.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the National Planning Policy Framework – Design Code consultation. The report noted that the Government is consulting on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), as well as on proposals for a National Model Design Code and Guidance Note for Design Codes. The deadline for responding to the consultation is 27 March 2021.
The report noted that the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission was established in 2019 and it was responsible for developing practical measures to help ensure new housing developments meet the needs and expectation of communities, making them more likely to be welcomed rather than resisted.
The main changes to the NPPF include greater reference to issues such as sustainable patterns of development, beautiful places, design quality, masterplans, design codes, tree-lined streets, climate change, pedestrian and cycle routes, secure cycle parking and area-based character assessments – main four changes: a) all local planning authorities to prepare design guides or codes b) codes to be prepared for area wide or sit specific scale and to carry weight in decision making, c) contribute to the character and quality of urban environments, and d) developments that are not well designed should be refused.
The preparation of a design code as a supplementary planning document will require a draft version to be prepared by Officers, agreed by CPPP and Cabinet, public consultation, analysis of responses, updates to the code and a final version to be agreed by CPPP and Cabinet.
Members welcomed the proposals and made the following points:
· Clarification was sought on how far from our design code does a planning application needs to be before it falls out of line of the planning system, as in the past Members have seen developments come up at Development Management Committee (DMC), which have been noted as being ugly but Councillors have not dismissed the application due to it being overturned at an appeal. The Panel was advised that when a design code is being prepared for an area the authority should engage the community and it needs to be agreed with the local community. Members would need to suggest type of design that would be favored by the community. It can be a continuation of what is already there or a new design, taking into account the countryside together with what may be needed in the future in terms of the climate change agenda. It was mentioned in the consultation that if it does not meet the standard of the design code the development can be refused. It will be for Officers and DMC to determine how far from the design code is unacceptable, it is likely that it will be tested through examples overtime.
· It was noted that the Planning Inspectorate would be judging those applications against the agreed design codes if applications are appealed.
· There will be times in the future whereby members will be considering applications at DMC purely on design matters. Design will be an enhanced ... view the full minutes text for item 116.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on Hertfordshire County Council’s consultation on its Waste Local Plan.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Hertfordshire Waste Local Plan – draft consultation. Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) was consulting on its Waste Local Plan. The deadline for responding being 19 March 2021. The timetable then assumes proposed submission consultation in Summer 2022, submission in Summer 2023 and adoption by Spring 2024.
The Council’s previous response to the initial consultation in March 2018 was included within the report. At that time the Council had mentioned that there were not enough reference to Green Belt and human health associated with waste sites.
The document highlighted that there is a need to increase the waste capacity due to significant levels of housing growth. With the anticipated growth the report noted that self-sufficiency required sufficient sites to be identified to close the gap. The Council supports the ten strategic objectives to: (1) apply the waste hierarchy, (2) promote modern and efficient facilities, (3) promote well-suited waste facilities, (4) increase recycling, (5) waste facilities close to origin, (6) low emission modes of transport, (7) cooperation with partners, (8) waste as economic activity, (9) self-sufficiency and (10) tackle climate change.
It was noted that the Plan considers that land off Birchall Lane at Cole Green as a strategic site for the management of construction, demolition and excavation waste, which is included within the Local Plan. The Plan also identifies the household waste recycling centre at Birchall of the A414 as a waste site. The Plan required waste development proposals to demonstrate that they will integrate measures to deal with climate change, including location, renewable energy emissions and ecosystems.
The following points were raised and discussed:
· The Head of Planning advised that in general the Council was supportive of the Plan and that it was for the County to ensure that they prove that they will be able to yield the necessary capacity in the next 15 years, when they submit the Plan to the Inspector.
· The Plan expects waste development proposals to be located close to the primary route network and use sustainable transport as a priority but not to over whelm the routes.
· The Plan no longer refers to OAN figures.
· Members considered the proposed draft response included within the report.
A Member expressed concern in terms of having a situation whereby the County’s waste is deposited within the Borough, as this Borough is central within the County. Having a single incinerator in Welwyn Hatfield would have an adverse effect on public health. He mentioned the issues that arose with the New Barnfield site in the past. It was felt that the Council’s response should reflect this concern and that waste sites be located advantageously around the County and not be centralised in Welwyn Hatfield Borough.
That Members offer comments and grant delegated authority to the Head of Planning to prepare and submit a response, subject to a final agreement by the Executive Member for Planning.
Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) outlining the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan, which assess the causes of under-delivery and to identify actions to increase delivery in future years.
Members considered the report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan. The Government published its latest housing delivery test results on 19 January 2021. It confirmed that Welwyn Hatfield had built 1,450 homes in the period 2017/18-2019/20 against a target of 2,284. This equated to 63%. This means that the Council has to prepare an Action Plan to assess the causes of under-delivery and identify actions to increase delivery in future years.
As the Council did not meet its target of delivery there are three consequences:
a) The Council will need to prepare an action plan to assess the causes of under-delivery.
b) The Council needs to add a 20% buffer to its five year housing land supply.
c) The Council needs to apply the presumption in favour of sustainable development when determining planning applications.
The Housing Delivery test is an annual measure of housing delivery which compares the total net homes delivered against the number of homes required. As the Council does not have a recently adopted Local Plan the number of homes required in Welwyn Hatfield has been taken from the Government’s local housing need figures.
The Action Plan does allow the Council to look at how it is performing in terms of delivery, corporate applications to itself and seek to improve the planning system.
The following points were noted:
· Council’s balance on dealing with planning applications has improved overall.
· Impact of Section 106 and the timescales for the build following the application permission may need to be reviewed and investigate options of improvement to meet targets.
· The target set by Government is high and it is difficult to meet the number under the current circumstances, until the Local Plan is adopted.
· Members were advised on the consideration of applications in urban areas versus use of green belt land.
· It was noted that there are sufficient permissions granted for builds but these have not been taken up and thus contributing to the under-delivery. Head of Planning explained that the Council has allowed higher densities in sustainable locations such as the Wheat Quarter in Welwyn Garden City, which has permission for 1,454 homes in blocks. There are permissions granted for delivery for at least 2,000 homes, which have not yet been built. It was felt that releasing some of the burdens/conditions put in place may help to deliver numbers but there could be consequences on build quality, etc. Also the community has agreed for certain facilities/designs that need to be met. There will be regular meetings with larger developer to help improve the situation.
· It was confirmed that they are building and work was continuing on the Wheat Quarter site.
That Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel recommends the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan to Cabinet for publication.